Saturday, August 31, 2013

By the way....

I appreciate everyone's comments so much! I love replying to comments, but I managed to switch something off (I think...) and blogger isn't letting me. But thanks for all your kind and encouraging words, and thank you especially to family and friends-far-away. You are so missed and so loved!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Billy Goats Gruff

"Mary, I'm going to Peterborough tomorrow."
"OK, that's nice, dear."
"And I'm buying three goats."

Poor Will. In the course of our homesteading adventure these past months I've had to apologize several times for failing in awesomeness. If I were awesome, I'd be totally into goats. Also into wild cows, like Galathea the Devil Heifer.

Yes. We bought a cow. I haven't managed to photograph her because she is so terrified of people that she hides in the barn, invisible but for her glowing green eyes. The Devil cow.

But Will has been so sweet and so persistent in becoming a cow whisperer. He's been scything hay for one thing. (Yes...scything...with a scythe.) And a very adorable sight it is, I must say, to see him working in our hilly little pastures....under a blazing sun....sweating, smiling, and singing! He hand scythed, raked, and stacked several hundred pounds of hay for the delectation of Devil Heifer.

We continue to haunt the internet for information on taming wild cows, and the Dexter breed in particular.  (Dexters are a sturdy Irish breed, ideal for small acreages. They're also very pretty). I'm afraid halter breaking might be our only option, but that's a discussion for another day.

In the meantime we've brought her some company.

Hannah the milk goat....

and Mathilda and Morris....the pygmy/Alpine pair.

They are as sweet, funny, and friendly as puppies. They follow the boys everywhere....

...put the dog in his place....

and seek out human company whenever they can.

Their antics keep us in stitches all day. I knew goats were mischievous (ours aren't) but I had no idea they were such good company. They're very smart and trainable. The only animal that compares, in my opinion, is dogs.

But the best surprise by far is the sweet, fresh milk! Hannah gives us a litre plus of beautiful milk every morning and evening, and it's creamy, beautiful, and not even a hint of goatiness. Which is odd, because she's a goat.

These little friends have given a real boost to us two YouTube farmers and our problem cow. I've also decided to persevere with my commitment to smile sweetly when Will drops animal related plans on me. (I really shouldn't be arguing with a man with a scythe anyway). Will does all the work, builds all the equipment and shelters, feeds them and brings us fresh milk twice a day. He understands and interprets all the bizarre animal behaviour for me, especially Morris (the male of the species...oh my!), builds fences, fixes fences, innovates fences, just to placate his wife. He's a good soul, that Will Pemberton. And not one bit boring!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chicken Tractor

Introducing Cornelius Cob and his twelve little wives....

Will built the "chicken tractor" by eye from pictures he found online. I'm inordinately proud of it (even though I had nothing to do with it) especially now that it's red....

Bonaparte Red. For these birds—nothing but the best, nothing but the best.

Hugh hanging out in the nesting box

better than tv
A scene from rural appalachia. This impoverished, naked child survives only on belly fat stored from his third breakfast. Actually, I added this picture to show the cool branches Will rigged up inside the coop for roosting purposes. As soon as the sun goes down, the chickens crowd to the highest and most desirable perch and squabble over it for half an hour or so. The other night I heard Matthias shout out his bedroom window, "SHUT UP, CHICKENS!" But Matthias, we LOVE our chickens! 
...and Will added wheels borrowed from a dump lawn mower. Whew! earth conscious, that's my man.

Finn hangs around, keeping an eye on things

Finn is our sweet little red heeler puppy, which we got earlier this spring while we were still living at mum and dad's. I can't say he's terribly fierce with strangers, and he's a bit jumpy-kissy-nippy, but we love him and he's shaping into a good farm dog. See how he loves me?

 The latest excitement is the new door on the back of the trailer, and the lovely lady whom we're expecting some time this week....

I somehow managed to fug up the layout in the tiny space of blogging time I'm allowed. Stay with me! There's more farmy goodness to come....